JEREMY Nettle’s letter “Green test fail” (Postbag, February 9) hit the nail on the head when he called the new Longhedge development ‘Longhedge Island’. The fact that this development has been allowed to go ahead with no walking and cycling links with the neighbouring Old Sarum development has been a major concern to many local councillors and campaign groups. The transport assessment for the outline application for Longhedge says: “The site layout and design will be fully permeable for pedestrians and cyclists to provide direct and convenient routes between facilities within the development, and to facilities off-site. A minimum of two footway and cycleway connections will be provided to allow direct links to the Old Sarum Primary School, and employment within the Old Sarum Business Park south of the Portway. This connection will also link into the cycle route network to the city centre.”

So what went wrong? The problem is that the pressure to build more and more homes as quickly as possible has enabled planners to ignore their own and government guidelines on the Green Infrastructure (GI) required to support those developments:- The Wiltshire Core Strategy states – Transport and new development contain clear commitments to promoting sustainable transport alternatives to the use of the private car. However in this case land ownership issues to allow connectivity to off-site facilities and the adjoining development were not resolved before planning permission was granted, so new residents will become accustomed to car dependency, they have no other choice.

This example makes it all the more important that Salisbury and the surrounding parishes develop neighbourhood plans with cross boundary green infrastructure so that the rapid growth of the city and adjacent parishes doesn’t result in isolated, car-dependent islands, deteriorating air quality and lost opportunities for active travel with all the benefits that brings for improved health and quality of life.

Pam Rouquette
(Salisbury Area Greenspace Partnership Connectivity Group)